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Holden Equinox 2019 review: LT long term

How will two humans and their four-legged child, Poppy the corgi, go in the Holden Equinox LT?
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

1 May 2019 • 8 min read

Andrew Chesterton is spending six months with the Holden Equinox LT, to see how it suits his family's needs.

Part 1: April 18, 2019

It's never made clear in the Marvel Universe where exactly Peter Parker's famous Spider Senses strike him first, but having now spent some time behind the wheel of the Holden Equinox, I think I've got an idea...

There's no delicate way to approach this tooshie subject, but I think it might be in his bottom.

While plenty of car makers alert you to danger with a series of annoying squawks, Holden has taken a far more personal approach with the Equinox, with the warnings arriving via a series of rumbles in the diver's seat; these gentle vibrations that alert you to slow traffic ahead, or something crossing at the rear.

And I bloody love it. No more cutting off the audio to alert me to a vehicle roughy 8000 metres ahead, and one that I have more chance of running over and asteroid than I do colliding with. Instead, a gentle bum rumble tells you all you need to know about what's going on outside the car.

  • There's much joy to be found behind the wheel of the Equinox. There's much joy to be found behind the wheel of the Equinox.
  • I'm driving the well-equipped LT ($36,990) mid-spec trim. I'm driving the well-equipped LT ($36,990) mid-spec trim.
  • The safety kit offers blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera and parking sensors. The safety kit offers blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera and parking sensors.
  • Holden has taken a far more personal approach with the Equinox. Holden has taken a far more personal approach with the Equinox.
  • For us, the only child in our life is a cat-sized corgi who might well be the most spoiled animal in existence. For us, the only child in our life is a cat-sized corgi who might well be the most spoiled animal in existence.

It's not the only surprising thing I've discovered about this American-inspired (it wears a Chevrolet badge in the States) SUV in my first month of pseudo-ownership. But at the top of that list is just how easy and enjoyable I've found the experience to date.

Holden's SUV products are often overlooked in favour of its Japanese and Korean rivals, but there's much joy to be found behind the wheel of the Equinox - especially in this well-equipped LT ($36,990) mid-spec trim.

For one, the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine sounds terribly underwhelming on paper, but its 188kW and 353Nm feels surprisingly ample in shifting its bulk around the city. Likewise, the nine-speed automatic goes about its business with a minimum of fuss, too.

The real surprise, though, is the level of equipment on offer. There's a nav-equipped 8.0-inch touchscreen (albeit one with that might be the worst graphics we've seen for some time), along with 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate and heated front seats.

But the real boon is the standard safety kit, led as it is by the bum rumble, but also offers blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera, parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, AEB, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, six airbags an dual ISOFIX attachment points in the rear.

So that's the good, now for the not-so-impressive points. The gearbox might be among the slowest in existence when it comes from shifting from Drive to Reverse and back again. Which means that, if you're doing one of those cheeky three-point turns (you know, those ones that require a bit of fleet-footedness), it feels like it is taking an absolute lifetime to engage a new direction.

And the other issue? Well, that's the pain at the pump. We've travelled well over 300kms in the time that we've had the car, and to date the fuel reading is glued to 14.0-litres per hundred kilometres. The overall rating, covering the car's 1668kms, is lower, hovering at around 11.1L/100kms.

  • The 2.0-litre turbocharged engines 188kW and 353Nm feels surprisingly ample. The 2.0-litre turbocharged engines 188kW and 353Nm feels surprisingly ample.
  • There's a nav-equipped 8.0-inch touchscreen. There's a nav-equipped 8.0-inch touchscreen.
  • It comes with 18-inch alloys. It comes with 18-inch alloys.
  • So how will the Equinox fare as as taxi for our unconventional brood? Time will tell. But so far, so good. So how will the Equinox fare as as taxi for our unconventional brood? Time will tell. But so far, so good.

The other thing I should mention here, given as we're getting to know each other, is that mine is not the conventional SUV family. For us, the only child in our life is a cat-sized corgi who might well be the most spoiled animal in existence.

She rides in a car seat in the back (raised so she can see out the windows - I mentioned spoiled, didn't I?), from which she explodes hair across the backseat so effectively its like someone has detonated Cher back there.

So how will the Equinox fare as as taxi for our unconventional brood? Time will tell. But so far, so good.

Acquired: March 2019
Distance travelled this month: 230kms
Odometer: 1668kms
Average fuel consumption for March: 14.0L/100

Part 2: May 1 2019

Having spent the vast majority of my adult life in and around cars, I've seen just about everything you can imagine spilled in the cabin. 

Coffee? Check. Soft drink? Check. Nail polish (now banned from the car)? Check. Ice-cream? Check. Toddler vomit? Also, sadly, check.

But perhaps nothing is quite so gross, nor as stubborn to remove, as the viciously viscous drool that flies from our little dog's mouth after a run in the park. Somehow the droplets continue to leap off her tongue long after she's been loaded into the car for the drive home, flying around the cabin like someone has set off the world's most gross sprinkler in the backseat.

Perhaps nothing is quite so gross as the drool that flies from our little dog's mouth after a run in the park. Perhaps nothing is quite so gross as the drool that flies from our little dog's mouth after a run in the park.

Which does bring me to one obvious weakness in the LT's modern-family credentials, with this specification of Equinox arriving with fabric seats front and back, seemingly designed to absorb spills and stains before you're any chance of getting to them. 

To get easy-wipe leather-trimmed seats, you need to upgrade to the LTZ, which includes other niceties too (like a powered boot), but also increases the asking price to $39,990. And to be honest, after spending the better part of an hour scrubbing the fabric in the backseat with a dampened tea-towel, it's probably money well spent for anyone with kids - whether they have four legs or two.

In good news, after a more varied driving this month, the average fuel use has begun to drop. I was hovering at about 14 litres per hundred kilometres at the time of the last Equinox instalment, but after some 345km over the past four weeks, that number has fallen to 13.1 litres.

Now to be fair, that's miles away from Holden's claimed 8.2L/100km, but at least we're edging closer. The Equinox, by the way, demands 95RON unleaded fuel.

  • After more varied driving this month, the average fuel use has begun to drop. After more varied driving this month, the average fuel use has begun to drop.
  • Our most recent adventure was a mostly freeway cruise to the red-dirt of the Wingello State Forest. Our most recent adventure was a mostly freeway cruise to the red-dirt of the Wingello State Forest.
  • The Wigello State Forest is a stunning, pine-forested haven for dog-friendly walks. The Wigello State Forest is a stunning, pine-forested haven for dog-friendly walks.
  • As front-wheel-drive SUV, any serious off-road driving is ruled out. As front-wheel-drive SUV, any serious off-road driving is ruled out.
  • Holden made short work of the corrugated and loose dirt roads of Wingello, proving that a bit of ground clearance goes a long way. Holden made short work of the corrugated and loose dirt roads of Wingello, proving that a bit of ground clearance goes a long way.

But our most recent adventure - a mostly freeway cruise to the red-dirt of the Wingello State Forest (a stunning, pine-forested haven for dog-friendly walks, and the very place you see in these pictures this month) saw the Equinox averaging around 8.5L/100km, so we'd expect the number to fall below 13 by the time of out next instalment.

This Equinox might be a front-wheel-drive SUV, thus ruling out any serious four-wheel driving, but plucky Holden made short work of the bumpy, corrugated and largely loose dirt roads of Wingello, proving that - for light off-roading - a little bit of ground clearance goes a long way, and that front-wheel drive is really more than enough for the vast majority of owners.

Elsewhere this month, the Equinox's carrying credentials have come to the fore, with the seemingly endless procession of expensive handy jobs that come with home ownership demanding trip after trip to the local hardware store. 

Now if you look at the side profile of the Equinox, you'll notice it looks a lot like a seven-seater, what with that extension over the rear tyres that looks designed to carry a third row of seats. It doesn't, of course, but what it does do is bump up the cargo capacity of the boot space. 

If you look at the side profile of the Equinox, it looks a lot like a seven-seater. If you look at the side profile of the Equinox, it looks a lot like a seven-seater.

There's a sizeable 846 litres on offer, which - as noted in our review of the Equinox - beats the Mazda CX-5, VW Tiguan, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander

More than that, it's a genuinely useable perk of SUV ownership that you can - and will - take advantage of, whether you have kids or not. 

The question is; do the practicality perks outweigh the dynamic negatives? That's exactly what we'll be exploring next month.

Acquired: March 2019

Distance travelled this month: 345km

Odometer: 2013km

Average fuel consumption for April: 13.1L/100


The Wrap

Verdict and scores will be provided at the end of the 6 month period.

Likes

Dislikes

Scores

Andrew:

The Kids:

$36,990

Based on new car retail price

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